Apart from, say, the absence of a free lunch or a decent goody-bag from a tournament sponsor, nothing gets the golf writers worked up into a gasping fankle quite like the wild cards for a Ryder Cup.

In this manic modern world of ours, where debate, discussion, discourse and disagreement roars on 24 bloomin’ 7 and all and sundry have to give an opinion on this, that and t’other, even folk who probably couldn’t give two hoots about the captain’s picks end up getting swept along on this all-consuming tsunami of speculation and second-guessing.

I don’t know if you had any strong views on the six-men Luke Donald named, or should’ve named, in his European team for this month’s joust with the US in Rome.

But, if you greeted yesterday’s unveiling with a nonchalant shrug and didn’t fling your tuppence worth into the hectic conversation that followed, then I assume you’ll be getting a heavy-handed visit from an official Wild Card Debate Enforcement Trooper who will insist you give a reaction while cajoling you into doing so by jabbing and prodding at your chest with his truncheon. As ever, I’m being ridiculous, but you get the general idea.

Mercifully, both the European and the USA teams are now finalised after a prolonged, exhausting period of will he, won’t he chatter.

We’ll now have a couple of weeks of relative calm before the frenzy builds again, the Ryder Cup will actually be played and, depending on the result, Donald and his American counterpart, Zach Johnson, could either be venerated as some kind of tactical genius who has harnessed the ebb and flow of on-course affairs or lampooned as a flapping nincompoop who couldn’t lead a team into a Husband & Wife Salver at the local municipal.

This captaincy lark can be a funny old business and there’s often a feeling that the man with the armband on can get too much blame for a defeat and too much acclaim for a win. What was it Tom Watson said a few years ago? “What can a captain do, apart from the speeches? Sure, the pairings and all that, but it’s still all about the golf they (the players) play.”

Watson was the last US captain to taste victory on European soil back in 1993. When he performed the role again at Gleneagles in 2014, however, his wrinkly, simplistic, old-school ethos of “just play better golf’ was gruesomely savaged by Phil Mickelson in the withering, excruciating aftermath of a quite dreadful skelping by Europe.

Those are the perils of the captain’s job. A player can simply not perform and be absolved of any blame while the skipper gets pelters. Equally, said player can be the star of the show and the captain is viewed as an inspirational colossus. Either way, the player can’t really lose.

In that same Ryder Cup of 2014, the victorious European captain Paul McGinley was elevated into the pantheon of greats for a meticulous approach which made a fine-tooth comb look like a yard brush. The amiable Irishman took fixtures, fittings and furnishings to new levels too by having a tank of gold and blue fish – the European colours – displayed in the team room. He also hung a picture on the wall which depicted a rock being lashed by waves, accompanied by the message, “we will be the rock when the storm arrives.”

Such detail was later held up as a tour de force in terms of instilling passion, focus and resilience. But what would’ve been the reaction had Europe lost? McGinley could’ve been a laughing stock as the fish got flushed down the cundy and that bit of art got hurled into a skip. In this game of fine margins, there’s a fine line too between masterstrokes and mockery.

When it comes to those wild cards, meanwhile, you can be damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Donald’s inclusion of the brilliant young Ludvig Aberg, who only turned pro in June, could be inspired. Shane Lowry, without a top-10 since February, is a calculated gamble but Polish birdie-machine Adrian Meronk, a winner on the Ryder Cup venue of Marco Simone earlier this year, can feel mightily unlucky to miss out. The captains will never please everybody.

Thank heavens our own Robert MacIntyre didn’t have to rely on a pick after clinging on to the final automatic qualifying place on the European points list and earning a debut in the biennial battle. His progression in team golf is now complete.

A decade ago, MacIntyre made both his Scotland and GB&I debut at an under-18 level. In the men’s amateur scene, he went on to play in European and World Team Championships for Scotland before capping it all off with a Walker Cup appearance for GB&I in 2017. Here in 2023, the 27-year-old made a decent fist of it as GB&I’s DP World Tour players beat their continental counterparts in the Hero Cup.

For an Oban lad who still revels in the lively, all for one and one for all environment of the shinty dressing room, one can’t imagine the European team room will faze him in the slightest.

MacIntyre could even hang a caman on the wall for inspiration? It can’t be any quirkier than those gold and blue fish…